Jan 152019
Photograph of a field near the gasworks where Granton House once stood
The nearby location of Granton House (now demolished)

Forth Quarter, Edinburgh EH5 1FH

Near this site once stood Granton House, a 24-room three-storey mansion with a balustraded roof, built by the Earl of Hopetoun in 1807 on the Duke of Buccleuch’s land as part of a 99-year lease. In 1883, the house became the property of Lord Gifford (1820 – 1887) the Scottish advocate and judge. Visitors to the house included Sir Walter Scott and Florence Nightingale who, following her visit, wrote to the family and said “I think Granton House the most poetic place I ever saw.” The house was purchased by the Edinburgh and Leith Corporations Gas Commissioners around the time that Granton Gas Works was built (opened in 1902), for use as the official residence of the Chief Engineer and Manager. The first Chief Engineer and Manager to occupy the house was Mr W. R. Herring. When Edinburgh and Leith amalgamated in 1920, the house passed to Edinburgh Corporation. From 1946 Edinburgh Corporation used the property to house homeless families following World War II. On 1 January 1954 it was destroyed in a disastrous fire and what was left demolished.

Black and white photograph of Adam Gifford, Lord Gifford
Adam Gifford, Lord Gifford (1820-1887)
Footpath towards the location of the Granton Gas Works train station
Walk along the foot path to get to your next destination
Photograph of the edge of a walkway bordered by reeds, titled "Turning Point" by Stuart Ogilvie
“Turning Point” by Stuart Ogilvie
Jan 152019
The entrance to Forthquarter Park, the location of Granton Gas Works
The entrance to Forthquarter Park, the location of Granton Gas Works

West Shore Road, Edinburgh EH5 1RH

In the 1890s, gas was being produced in Edinburgh, Leith, and Portobello and the sites were operating at full capacity. It was decided to build a substantial new single-site gasworks capable of future expansion. Following negotiation with the 6th Duke of Buccleuch, a 106¼ acre site at Granton was purchased for £124,000. An impressive structure, the most elegant gas holder in Scotland in terms of its external framing was erected as part of a £450,000 state-of-the-art coal gasworks between 1898 and 1903 under the direction of Dutch engineer W. R. Herring. Gas Holder Number 1, still standing today, had a maximum capacity of 7,000,000 cubic feet. Gas manufacturing stopped in 1987 and the building is now listed. The possibility of retaining this Gas Holder as an outstanding example of Scotland’s industrial heritage is under consideration.

Sepia photograph of the three separate gas holders at Granton Gasworks..
The three separate gas holders at Granton Gasworks. Photo from the John Dickson collection.
A black and white aerial photograph of Granton Gas Works showing the gasworks, the Caledonian Railway lines going into the site and the station building.
An aerial picture of Granton Gas Works showing the extent of the gasworks, the Caledonian Railway lines going into the site and the station building (bottom right corner)
Photograph of the gasworks
Picture by Gareth Hutchison
Painting of the gasworks
Gasworks by Harry Mafuji